According to the National Alliance for Youth Sports, 70 percent of children up to the age of 13 quit organized sports. The reasons for this can be different ones. It is important to speak openly with your child to find out what the reason is so you can work together on solutions afterwards.
To avoid this from happening at all, we have listed the most common reasons and at the same time have integrated tips to avoid that your child wants to quit exercising for these reasons.
It's no longer fun
According to a 2014 George Washington University study, fun is the number one reason for children to exercise. Winning was only in 48th place and playing tournaments in 63rd place.
What does that mean in practice? If the fun is gone, the child will also stop practicing the sport at puberty at the latest. If that happens, try to work with your child on ideas to find the fun of the game again.
Not enough independence
It can often happen that sports and training are combined with too much control and criticism overtime. As a result, the child lacks the feeling of ownership of the experiences and their achievements. Imagine your boss would keep looking over your shoulder and constantly criticizing you or telling you which steps to take.
Children should be proud of their own achievements and should also be able to develop themselves.
Do not tell your child what their passion should be, but help them find it themselves.
After competitions or training sessions, wait until your child approaches you and tells you about successes and mistakes. Then you can congratulate your child or find solutions together to avoid future mistakes.
The child is playing too little
This problem can occur more often, especially in team sports. If a child gets only a few minutes of play time during a soccer game and spends most of the time on the bench, they will soon lose interest and fun. Even if their own team wins, the child will not be able to celebrate this success because they have contributed little to it. A study by the Josephean Institute showed that 90 percent of children would rather lose than sit on the winners' bench.
Therefore, protect your child from coaches whose only goal is to win. The younger the child, the less that should be a goal at all.
Fear of mistakes
Many children are very afraid of making mistakes. They are afraid of being shouted at or criticized or, as mentioned earlier, of having to sit on the bench. For children it is also very important to live in an environment in which it is okay to make mistakes. After all, failure is an important part of development.
You can give your children a lot of support with this part. Praise your child for recognizing mistakes and working to correct them. Make it clear to your child that it's okay (and very important) to make mistakes. Teach your child how to best learn from defeats and setbacks.
The child does not feel respected
The most important thing for children is to be respected and encouraged. This should definitely be taken into account when choosing the trainer. Listen to your child attentively and pay close attention to your child's behavior, which gives the child the feeling of being heard and can also help to recognize when a child is no longer happy with the sport.
Of course, every child is different and there is no solution that is right for each child. As just said, listen to your child, speak openly with them and don't put pressure on your child. With this advice, the likelihood that your child will stop exercising should decrease significantly.